Minutes of the South West Scotland Regional Network committee meeting
Wednesday 13 January 2021, via Zoom
Anne Cameron (South Ayrshire, Vice Chair)
Margaret Dymond (Renfrewshire, Treasurer)
Mac McKenzie (East Ayrshire)
Margaret Anderson (South Ayrshire)
Carolynne Watson (CW), Scottish Government Tenant Participation Manager
Heather Cuthbert (East Renfrewshire, Chair)
Bruce Cuthbertson (East Ayrshire, Secretary)
Helen Westwater (East Renfrewshire)
Mary Logan (Renfrewshire)
1. Welcome and apologies
Anne welcomed everyone to the meeting.
2. Minutes of previous meeting and matters arising
Following the meeting of 27 October 2020, Bruce circulated the draft minutes to all committee members on 2 November, however not everyone had seen these. The committee agreed to review these minutes and carry these forward to the agenda for the 10 March meeting. Carolynne will circulate these minutes again with the papers for the March meeting.
For a number of reasons, some committee members have been unable to attend meetings for some months. Today, only half the current members are able to be present and Margaret A raised the question of what would happen in the event that a vote was required, and no quorum is included in the constitution. Carolynne agreed to take an action point to raise this with the TP Team and to update on this at the next meeting.
3. Treasurer’s Report
There has been no committee spend since the last report, however Margaret D noted a monthly charge has been applied to the account of £6.50, as no transactions have been made for a number of months. Anne noted she was keen to appeal these charges with the bank, however the committee view was that charges are likely to have been applied in line with the terms and conditions of the account. Carolynne agreed to notify the TP Team as it may be that other Regional Networks have been similarly affected.
4. Business Matters
• Regional Networks Communications sub-group
Carolynne gave an update on this group. Annabel emailed all members in November to introduce the group and request a volunteer from each of the committees to attend. Anne asked for more information on the purpose of the group. Carolynne confirmed the group was set up to look at how the Regional Networks communicate both within the Regional Network membership group as a whole, and with other parties who have an interest in the work of the Networks, or may be keen to get involved. The recent meeting of the group discussed Newsletters, the management of each of the Regional Network sections of the website, and the distribution of information from Regional Network meetings.
Carolynne noted that the TP Team is aware that numbers are currently low for the South West Scotland (as detailed above) but that a volunteer to represent the committee on the group would be welcomed. There were no volunteers at the meeting, however Carolynne noted that the committee will be kept informed and minutes can be circulated to the committee for information.
• Update report- Rent consultation and affordability
Carolynne thanked everyone for their responses to Terry Kirby’s questions on the affordability paper he circulated around all Regional Network members following the last Chairs & Secretaries meeting. Terry will be providing an update at the next Chairs and Secretaries meeting. So far, it appears that the issues identified by the paper are largely issues experienced in Edinburgh and in other urban areas. In general, most respondents were able to outline how rent consultation exercises were carried out within their own landlords, although few respondents were able to find information on how their landlords factor affordability for tenants into their rent setting.
Anne noted that despite ongoing conversations on affordability, there is no definition of affordability which is applicable to the sector as a whole. She noted many landlords are proposing significant increases at a time of crisis where many tenants are experiencing unprecedented hardship- a definition to work around is required.
The next Chairs & Secretaries meeting will take place on 2 February and Terry will provide an update on his paper to the meeting for their agreement on progressing this work.
The group went on to discuss the SHR Liaison group, and Anne noted that whilst she, Margaret A and Margaret D had attended a pre-meeting of the Liaison group with a view to considering membership of the group on behalf of South West Scotland, Anne and Margaret A do not plan to pursue membership of the group. Margaret D agreed to act as a representative of South West Scotland on the Liaison group at this time, until the position becomes clearer as to when Heather and Helen will be able to resume their places on the Liaison group.
On Chairs & Secretaries, Anne, Margaret D, Margaret A and Mac will attend to represent the region. Region 1 will host this meeting.
• Regional Networks- Recruitment.
Carolynne noted that the standard information leaflet has been updated for South West Scotland. Anne asked for sight of the leaflet before it is issued and Carolynne agreed to include this with the papers for the next meeting. Anne asked that the leaflet make clear the current vacancies, and stated that TP workers also should receive a copy of the leaflets.
Margaret A asked who will receive the leaflet and what the covering email will say, and stated that any leaflet will have to include information on what the Regional Networks are, how they work and achievements- Carolynne confirmed that the leaflet does state this, and TP workers will receive the leaflet in the first instance however if any committee members wish to forward the leaflet or the website link to their contacts they can do so.
Carolynne noted that Heather had held some meetings with interested tenants previously and the committee may be interested in carrying out further similar meetings. Mac noted that he and Bruce have previously indicated that they would attend similar meetings. Margaret A suggested including information on the Networks in Tenants Newsletters to maximise coverage.
5. Scottish Housing Regulator: Consultation on EESSH indicators- for completion and response.
The committee discussed and agreed their response to the SHR consultation on EESSH indicators. In the absence of the Secretary, Carolynne agreed to submit the consultation response to SHR on behalf of the committee.
6. Meeting dates- 2021
The committee discussed and agreed the following meeting dates for 2021:
• Wednesday 10 March;
• Wednesday 5 May;
• Wednesday 30 June;
• Wednesday 25 August;
• Wednesday 20 October;
• Wednesday 15 December.
Margaret A requested calendar invitations for upcoming meetings and Carolynne agreed to send these. Zoom details will be embedded within these as far as possible.
7. Date of next meeting
10 March 2021, via Zoom.